In what can only be described as a bizarre interview with an ABC News show dedicated to politics, former NBA star Dennis Rodman played messenger for North Korean dictator Kim Jong Eun, saying he wants to talk on the phone with President Obama. “He wants Obama to do one thing: Call him,” Rodman told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. Rodman said he told Kim that both he and Obama are basketball fans so suggested the two leaders might find some common ground there.
Rodman traveled to Pyongyang with members of the Harlem Globetrotters and a camera crew from HBO, all of whom were warmly welcomed by Kim. Now all of a sudden Rodman has become one of the few Americans who have spent much time with the North Korean leader. “There is nobody at the CIA who can tell you more personally about Kim Jong Eun than Dennis Rodman, and that in itself is scary,” said Steve Ganyard, a former deputy assistant secretary of state and ABC News consultant.
On Sunday, Rodman called Kim “my friend” although he also noted that “I don’t condone what he does.” When Rodman said he expects to travel to North Korea again, Stephanopoulos presented him with the latest Human Rights Watch report on the country and suggested he should read about human rights abuses taking place there. The former NBA star stammered: “Well either way, either way—guess what, though, guess what—thank you for the report. Guess what, guess what, don’t hate me. Don’t hate me. Guess what. Don’t hate me. Guess what. Don’t hate me.” (Watch the interview after the jump.)
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